“Lady of the rocks – The little spiritual marvel in the heart of the Kotor bay”
Lady of the rocks (Montenegrin: Gospa od Škrpjela) is one of the two islets off the coast of Perast in the Bay of Kotor. It is an artificial island created by bulwark of rocks and by sinking old ships with rocks. The Roman Catholic Church of the Lady of the Rocks (Italian: Chiesa della Madonna dello Scarpello) is the largest building on the islet. The church has a museum attached. There is also a small gift shop close to the church and navigation light at the western end of the islet.
The Lady of the rocks is located just outside Perast, in the middle of the Kotor bay, surrounded with mountains, the crystal clear ocean, and pristine nature. Visitors can only reach the Lady of the rocks via boat, and once you see this marvelous wonder you will always gladly return again.
History of Lady of the rocks
According to legend, the islet was made over the centuries by sailors who wanted to keep an ancient oath. After finding the icon of the Madonna and Child on the rock in the sea on the 22. July 1452. Upon returning from each successful voyage, they laid a rock in the Bay. Over time, the islet gradually emerged from the sea. The custom of throwing rocks into the sea is alive even nowadays. Every year on the sunset of July 22 local residents take their boats and throw rocks into the sea. This festival is called Fasinada.
The first known church was built on the islet in 1452 and it was Serbian Orthodox. The Roman Catholic Church took over the Serbian Orthodox church in 1632, and built the present Church of Our Lady of the Rocks. It was upgraded in 1722. The church contains 68 paintings by Tripo Kokolja, a famous 17th-century baroque artist from Perast. His most important painting, ten meters long, is The Death of the Virgin. There are also paintings by Italian artists, and an icon (circa 1452) of Our Lady of the Rocks, by Lovro Dobričević of Kotor. The church also houses a collection of silver votive tablets and a famous votive tapestry embroidered by Jacinta Kunić-Mijović from Perast. It took her 25 years to finish it. For visitors from all over the world, the Lady of the rocks is one of the most interesting and special attractions in Montenegro.
How to get to the Lady of the rocks?
Since it is an islet the only way to get to this charming little attraction in the heart of the Kotor bay is per boat. Usually, almost every town big or small has a tour to the Lady of the rocks as well to St George Island (the twin of the Lady of the rocks islet). The tickets for the tours vary from 5€ to 20€, depending on the starting location and included stops of the tour. Another possibility is to get to Perast by car and embark one of the local tour boats to get to the islets for as low as 5€ (return ticket)